Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 19, 2013 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

1:00 pm
senate armed services committee in 2004, at which i expressed my growing alarm about the number of sexual assault in the military, and the inadequate response by the leaders of the military to provide adequate care for the survivors, and to ensure appropriate punishment for the perpetrators of these reprehensible crimes. ..ge casey, i stated the military needs to be much more responsive to reports of sexual assault, particularly in the field, and to separate these women and in some cases the male victims from their alleged attackers. the department must also
1:01 pm
vigorously prosecute offenders and hold commanders accountable for establishing zero tolerance policies. policies. >> mr. president, to say that general casey's response was disappointing, would be an understatement. i am convinced that if the military had heeded the concerns that i and others like senator mikulski raised back then, a decade ago, this terrible problem would have been addressed much sooner, saving many individuals from the trauma, the pain and the injustice that they endured. back then, sadly, the attitude of the high ranking officials who were testifying at that 2004 hearing was dismissive even though these crimes never should
1:02 pm
have occurred in the first place, traumatized the survivors and erodes the trust and discipline that are fundamental to every military unit. thankfully, the attitude i perceive among military officers today is markedly different from the one that i encountered nine years ago. the work of translating the military stated policy of zero tolerance into reality, however, remains unfinished business. fostering a culture of zero tolerance so that the number of assaults is greatly diminished remains a goal, not reality. and insuring that survivors do not think twice about reporting an assault for fear of
1:03 pm
retaliation or damage to their careers is still not part of the military culture. in 2011 i joined our former colleague, john kerry, in co-authoring the defense strong act as an initial step to address this crisis. provisions of that bill were signed into law as part of the fiscal year 2012 national defense authorization act. they provide survivors of sexual assault the assistance of advocates with genuine confidentiality. they provide guaranteed access to an attorney and expedited consideration to be transferred far away from their assailant. earlier this year i introduced the coast guard strong act to extend these protections to coast guard members, and i thank chairman levin and ranking member inhofe and senate
1:04 pm
mccaskill for their work to include these provisions in this year's ndaa. more than anything, survivors need to have the confidence that the legal system in which they report a crime will produce a just and fair result. based upon data from the department of defense's post recent sexual assault -- most recent sexual assault prevention and response survey, that view is not held by enough service members or survivors. as a result, i've supported and introduced legislation with senators gillibrand and mccaskill aimed at reducing the barriers to justice that many survivors of sexual assault currently face in the military. and i want to commend both senator gillibrand and senator mccaskill for their extraordinary leadership and
1:05 pm
dedication to resolving this unacceptable problem. let me also thank chairman levin and ranking member inhofe for incorporating significant provisions from both bills into the ndaa. in fact, there are more than 26 provisions specifically targeting sexual assault in the military in the bill that we are debating today. for example, and there are many, but i want to highlight one because it was part of a bill that senator mccaskill and i introduced, the legislation mandates a dishonorable discharge or dismissal for any service member convicted of sexual assault. this came from a biartisan, bicameral bill, the be safe act that i introduced with senator
1:06 pm
mccat curl, congresswoman nicky son gas and congressman mike turner earlier this year. there are many other important provisions that are included in this bill, and i would ask unanimous consent that my full statement listing those provisions be included in the record. >> without objection. >> our work will not be complete, however, until the pentagon has demonstrated that it is fully enforcing its stated policy of zero tolerance for sexual assault. now, there are strong views if the pentagon -- in the pentagon and in congress on how best to address this issue beyond the 26 provisions in the bill before us. there is much debate on what it means for the military's unique legal system. one of the criticisms that i've
1:07 pm
heard is that we should wait a few more month for the results of still more studies, or perhaps even wait a few more years to see if recently-enacted provisions have made a difference. mr. president, i strongly disagree. how many more victims are required to suffer before we take additional action? how many more lives must be ruined before we act? rather than waiting for the results of yet more studies, we must debate proposals that increase the confidence of survivors and increase prevention efforts now until we have proof that the military has, indeed, fostered a culture of zero tolerance in which survivors are no longer concerned about retaliation from their peers or even their
1:08 pm
commanders. and that is why i have decided to support senator gillibrand's amendment to this bill. this was not an easy decision as there are valid arguments on both sides. but senator gillibrand's amendment takes aim squarely at the problem of victims failing to report sexual assaults. in my judgment, her amendment will encourage victims to report sexual assault, and that is absolutely critical. there can be no question, mr. president, about the senate's commitment to reducing the instances of sexual assault this the military and to providing appropriate care for survivors. as we debate various proposals, we are united by the need for the serious reforms that are
1:09 pm
included already in this bill and that will enhance the military's response to sexual assault. and i want to thank all of those on the armed services committee, particularly the two leaders and senator mccaskill and senator gillibrand, for their excellent work. i am certain that our work on the ndaa will make a real difference in reducing unnecessary suffering, injury and injustice. thank you, mr. president. >> mr. president? >> the senator from new hampshire. >> i thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague, senator collins, senator hi cull sky for their -- mikulski for their leadership on issue and for bringing this important discussion to the floor today. also want to thank senator her
1:10 pm
kousky who i see in the chamber as well, as well as senator mccaskill who is a member of the armed services committee with me. and the has been an issue that has brought people together. and it has brought people together for the right reasons. an issue that the women of the senate have really, i think, driven, but it's important to understand that this is not a woman's issue. the issue of ending sexual assaults many in you are military -- in our military is an issue for everyone. this is an issue about justice, this is an issue about fairness, this is about making sure that victims of crimes -- both men and women -- get the justice that they deserve, get the support that they deserve in our military and that they understand and appreciate that we want them to have a climate in the military where if they are a victim, they can come forward and get the support that
1:11 pm
today need and that they -- that they need and that they deserve. and finally, this is also about the character of our military. we are blessed to have the very best military in the world. but when this is a plague of sexual assaults like we have seen in our military, it undermines the very fabric of our military in terms of our readiness, in terms of our preparedness, in terms of the cohesiveness of our units, and that's why it's not only important that we address and support the victims of these crimes, that we end sexual assault in our military, but that we have a climate in our military that says if you are a commander and you do not stop sexual assaults, prevent sexual assaults, have a climate in your unit that says zero tolerance, this is not going to happen, and if a victim comes forward in your unit that you don't handle in the right way and do the right thing and support victims
1:12 pm
and insure that perpetrators are held accountable, you will be relieved there command. and -- from command. and that is the climate on which all of the reforms in the defense authorization are brought forward, where we work together across the aisle with provisions that are very strong to support victims. one of those is a special victims council. and senator patty murray and i introduced a bill stand alone to insure based on a pilot in the air force, a pilot program in the air force that victims of sexual assault will actually now have their own lawyer. someone to represent them and their interests. to know that if they come forward, there is someone looking out for them. and that's one of the provisions contained in this defense forrization bill, to insure that every victim will have someone who stands for them. in addition to that, realuation. we've -- retaliation. we've now made retaliation against victims a crime under
1:13 pm
the uniform code of military justice. to say to victims that if you come forward and for some reason you are retaliated against, then whoever does that will be guilty of a crime. sending the message that, please, come forward. we want to support you. and we want to insure that the perp trailers are held -- perpetrators are held accountable. now in addition, i believe that if we want to solve this problem, the provisions in this bill that people have worked together on are very, very strong. i want to thank the chairman of the armed services committee and the ranking member for their work together. we are going to pass in this chamber unprecedented reforms that insure that the military understands this is not an issue anymore that can be left in the closet. this is not an issue that can be quietly spoken of where victims feel that they can't come
1:14 pm
forward. that these reforms in this bill are very tough, they support victims, they hold commanders accountable, and they make sure that we do not see what we have seen in the past, things like commanders overturning the verdicts. that will be done under this bill, and that is not allowed anymore if this bill passes on the floor. so i simply come to the floor today to say there is so much that we have agreed upon that is going to address this issue in the military. and for all of my colleagues that are on the floor today, i thank them for their leadership. but we will not let this rest. the one thing i do know is that, certainly, those of us that serve on the armed services committee and those who are here who don't serve on the armed services committee, but serve on other very important committees in the chamber including the appropriations committee, that despite the unprecedented reforms that i believe we're
1:15 pm
going to pass on a bipartisan basis to end sexual assault in the military, insure that victims are sported, we're not going to let this go. this is not going to be something where we pass these reforms and that's the end of the story. every few months we're going to be asking what have you done to implement these reforms. every few months we're going to be expecting a report back to the united states senate to insure that what we have all intended to occur here that is the right thing for victims of crime, that is the right thing for our military is getting done. so while i am very proud of everything that we have done and we will doe when we pass -- do when we pass the defense reauthorization on a bipartisan basis to stand against sexual assault in our military, this is not the end of the story, and we will continue to pursue this to make sure that our military understands that they are accountable, that victims of
1:16 pm
crime understand in the military that they will be supported and that we will not let this go. and so i thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleagues for their leadership in everything that they have done to support victims of crime and to end sexual assault in our military. >> mr. president? >> the senator from washington. >> mr. president, i rise to join my colleagues in highlighting the epidemic of sexual assault in our nation's armed services, and i'm glad to join many of my colleagues here, the senator from the maine the senator from new hampshire, and our leader, the senator from maryland, in making sure the voices of women are heard in this debate. we know that in may 2013 the defense department released a report that showed 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact among service members. that's an increase of 35% over two years.
1:17 pm
washingtonians in my state are very proud of the incredible men and women who keep our country safe and defend us, and we are proud of the ten military installations across our state. there are more than 65,000 men and women serving in the state of washington military installations, places like joint base lewis-mcchord, the pew gent sound navy -- puget sound navy shipyard, fairchild air force base and the naval station. so we take it seriously when there were 116 reports of sexual assaults across all of these installations in the state of washington in 2010. that number is too high. and that is the only amount that is being reported. we know that there may be many assaults that are unreported. as my colleagues are saying, we
1:18 pm
need to do everything we can to address this problem. i am pleased that joint base lewis-mcchord is developing a sexual assault prevention program, and i urge my colleagues in the senate to act to address in this epidemic problem. the men and women of our armed forces are basically defending our country, and so why are we leaving them unprotected while they serve? i've cosponsored legislation authored by my colleague, the senior senator from washington, to provide special victim counsel to victims of sexual assault, and this will insure that professionals trained in dealing with sexual assault are there to support the victims. there may be differing opinions on how best to achieve the overall goals of reducing sexual assault in the military, but i believe that all my colleagues can agree on one common goal: protecting the victims from further abuse.
1:19 pm
we need to put an end to an environment that allows sexual assault to occur and let the perpetrators go unpunished and discourage victims of sexual assault through fear and intimidation. again, we may differ on how to best achieve that goal, but we are all here to say the same thing: enough is enough. we will not tolerate the sexual assault in the military and armed forces, and we owe it to our service members to come together and act toward a solution today. that's why my colleagues are here, to emphasize this point in a way to speak volumes about how this tragedy is affecting men and women in the armed services and the fact that this institution needs to come together to address it. i thank the president, ask i yield the floor. >> mr. president?
1:20 pm
>> senator from alaska. >> mr. president, thank you. before i begin my remarks in this morning, i ask unanimous consent that major chelsea williams, a military fellow in my office, be granted clerk privileges for the remainder of the -- b. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i want the thank my friends, the good senator from maryland, the dean of the women in the senate, and the senator from maine who has organized this portion of the debate this morning. i want to acknowledge and thank the other women of the senate who are coming here this morning to speak on an issue we would all agree is something that a must be addressed, that for far too long has not seen the redress that it commands. and so we stand together unified in an effort to truly make a difference. i want to acknowledge the good work particularly of senators
1:21 pm
mccaskill and senators gillibrand who have really worked to raise the awareness of the issue, who have truly advanced the discussion to the point where i believe that for the first time in far too long we will make substantive, meaningful headway when it comes to addressing sexual assault, sexual harassment and what has been called or referred to as military sexual trauma. working together, i think we do have that imwe constitution, that push to -- impetus, that push to truly address the in meaningful areas. i think it will be evident to all that we have sent a very strong message on these issues, a very united message, cleary bipartisan -- clearly bipartisan. i think it's clear to all who have been following the debates
1:22 pm
first in the armed services committee and now here on the floor that there are differences of opinion within this body about how we address the crisis. how to create a culture that prevents the kinds of incidents that we're talking about from ever occurring. how we work to protect the rights of victims. how to insure that justice and accountability are achieved in an open and a transparent fashion so that victims know that there is a system that works for them, so that our constituents know that, so that we here in congress have that confidence again. because right now that confidence does not exist. we recognize that there remain differences across the body in how to achieve the elimination of sexual assault, sexual harassment and military sexual trauma. i believe, mr. president, that
1:23 pm
the amendment that is offered by our colleague from new york, senator gillibrand, is the best medicine for a difficult situation that has been allowed to languish for far too long. in this afternoon i intend a to spend a little more time explaining why i think senator gillibrand's amendment -- while it is strong medicine and it is disruptive of the status quo -- why i believe that it is the right way to go. but my purpose this morning in joining with my female colleagues here in the senate is not to argue for or against one amendment or another, it's to point out that the ndaaa, as reported by the armed services committee, includes many provisions, so many provisions agreeable to all that truly have a positive impact going forward. now, i'd like to -- i'd also like to point out that during the course of our event on the ndaa, the senate will consider some other amendments which
1:24 pm
enjoy broad support. my colleague, the senator from california, senator boxer, spoke very eloquently just last night about her amendment that will protect victims' rights in article 32 proceedings. this amendment has strong, good, strong support from those who support senator gillibrand's approach p as well as those who oppose it. i am crowd to cosponsor senator boxer's amendment. i think it's good with legislation, and i hope that we can come together to adopt it. i have submitted amendment 2141. this insures cadets and midshipmen at our nation's service academies have access to special victims counsel and sexual assault nurse examiners. another one of my amendments, number 2143, requires reports from the heads of our service academies on the services available to victims of military sexual trauma. i hope, i would certainly hope that these noncontroversial amendments can be offered and accepted at the appropriate time.
1:25 pm
i think all of these ideas -- they were mentioned by my colleague from new hampshire, those that have been addressed by my colleague from maine and others, these will all help to make a difference, but i think we recognize that this is just the beginning of solving the problem. the congress of the united states can encourage good behavior, and we can sanction bad behavior. but what we cannot do is we cannot legislate good culture. over the next few days, we're going to hear a good many words about the importance of the chain of command in maintaining good culture. and some will argue that our efforts to insure that bad behavior is sanctioned will cause the chain of command to abandon this respondent. i don't accept this proposition is. regardless of how we dispose of senator gillibrand's amendment, senator mccaskill's amendment, it is the responsibility of the chain of command to provide for
1:26 pm
good order and discipline and sound military culture. always. this is a nondelegable duty of those who accept positions of leadership and responsibility within our armed forces. those who wear the uniform reflect the values of this country and every action that they take must uphold those values. sometimes, though, i wonder, you have to wonder does the chain of command get it? and and to illustrate a point, i want to share a sad story. this is a story that senator gillibrand and i share. the soldier's name was danny chen. he grew up in new york city's china town. he joined the army, and he was assigned to fort wayne right in fairbanks, alaska. nine months after his deployment he was found dead in afghanistan of what the army described as,
1:27 pm
quote, an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. new york magazine describes his experience in afghanistan this way. a group of his superiors allegedly tormented chen on an almost daily basis over the course of about six weeks in afghanistan last fall. they singled him out. he was their only chinese-american soldier. they spit racial slurs at him. they forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. they ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. one day when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a hard hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldier ors in chinese. danny chen's story is not about sexual assault or sexual harassment, but it is about harassment. it's about the kind of extreme
1:28 pm
behavior that has no place, absolutely no place in the armed forces of world's greatest democracy. just like sexual assault, just like sexual harassment and military sexual trauma have no place in the armed forces of the world's greatest democracy. this week, mr. president, we have the opportunity to send a strong statement to the chain of command that they need to clean up the culture. never again should we have to speak of a culture that allows harassment, assault and trauma general b rated from within -- generated from within to fester in our military. so i join with my colleagues this morning in unity for the victims and for a change, a change that will realign the reality that our service members seem to face in the armed forces with the values of the greatest democracy on earth. i thank the president and my
1:29 pm
colleagues, and i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> senator from minnesota. >> mr. president, i rise today to speak on the national defense authorization act and how the senate and particularly the women of the senate are working to address the crisis of military sexual assault. i'd like to thank senator mikulski and senator collins for organizing and bringing us together this morning. i'd like to thank senators levin and inhofe for their leadership, and i'd like to thank senator mccaskill and senator gillibrand for working on this critical legislation over the course of the past year. and, of course, i'd like to thank all of women of the senate, many of you -- you've heard from many of them this morning and will aerofrom more -- hear from more, because this is an incredible year, a year that i hope will be
1:30 pm
remembered as a decisive one in the effort to eradicate military sexual assault once and for all. we are all too well aware that sexual assault continues to plague our armed forces. we've all seen the or horrifying numbers -- seen the horrifying numbers. in 2012 the department of defense received 3,374 reports of sexual assault in the military. but by the dod's own estimates, 26,000 -- 26,000 -- incidents of unwanted sexual contact actually took place during that period. that means that only 12.9%, a small fraction, of all incidences were actually reported. and even of the 3,374 reported offenses in 2012, only 880 faced command action for sex crimes. of those 880, 594 faced court-martial, and 302 of those court-martials resulted this convictions. so all in all, we have a
1:31 pm
situation in which 880 people faced any kind of discipline for a sex crime out of the universe of 26,000 potential incidences. that's only 3.4% of total incidents in which someone with was held accountable and only 302 or 1.1% were actually convicted of a crime. that is not a good set of numbers, mr. president, and it sums up why this problem has been festering and why we need action this year. but with i think we also know -- but i think we also know we're not all here because of the statistics. we're here because of real people. because each and every one of the numbers is a personal story of grief, and we know them all ooh well. whether it was the sexual assault scandal last year in texas where a dozen or more basic training instructors were accused of sexually assaulting female trainees, or the more recent case, the air base in italy where an air force general
1:32 pm
decided to reinstate a pilot without explanation despite the fact that this pilot had been convicted of sexual assault charges and a court-martial by a jury of his peers. i think of kimberly from minnesota, someone not everyone has heard of. she served this the marines in iraq. in 2005 she was handcuffed to a bed and assaulted by a fellow marine, her supervisor. she reported him. the end result? he was demoted in rank. it's clear that we have so much more to do in addressing this pervasive problem. it doesn't just hurt our men and women in uniform, it undermines the integrity of our armed forces. the integrity of our country. and that's why we can't let it continue. i know that everyone in the senate and none more than the women in the senate want action to change this intolerable situation. and action is what we are going to get. this year's defense
1:33 pm
authorization act contains more than two dozen unprecedented reforms that will increase reporting of these crimes, provide support to victims and help rebuild trust in the military's handling of sexual assaults. as a former prosecutor who ran an office of 400 people, i learned over time that the outcomes are incredibly important. but just as important as how people feel about how they are treated in the system. every year we did a survey of our victims of domestic abuse and of sexual assault. and one of the things that became clear over time, that just as important was how many months someone got in prison was whether or not the crime was explained to them, whether or not the process was explained to the victims and whether or not the outcome was explained. we actually had people come back and say i know that this case had to be dropped, or i know you couldn't bring charges in this case. but i felt -- this is a victim talking -- i felt that you treated me with respect, and and
1:34 pm
i understood that my case still remained so that if another case came forward, my record would be there, my report would be there, and if the facts were better or there was more evidence, you could go forward with it. that has led me to get very involved way before this past year in the issues of record retention in the military on sexual assault reports. when i first got involved in this, we learned the shocking fact that many branches of the military were destroying the records sometimes in one year, sometimes in five years. and that's why senator olympia snowe and i got together and proposed changes to that system. we actually changed it so the record would be kept for decades. but the problem is that still in the law despite two changes we have made over the years on this exact authorization act, the victim actually has to sign something and say they want the records retained. that would not happen in a civil court. current law only requires
1:35 pm
retention of restricted reports, and that's when a service member chooses not to take legal action at the request of the affected service member. this might seem innocuous, but it is not. it's a loophole allowing for the continuing destruction of records making it harder for servicemen and women who have been sexually assaulted to get va benefits for assault-related ailments or seek justice in the future. i did an event with a former that lean who literally, her case couldn't be brought. because she was a marine, the records were kept for five years. so when the perpetrator got out and raped two kids in california, that prosecutor in california was at least able to look at the records. whether he could use them or not is somewhat immaterial, it simply helps to look at the record and see if there was a similar modus operandi. a service member should not be forced to make a far reaching decision on whether a report on such a crime will be retained or
1:36 pm
not. that's what's happening right now. this bill gets rid of a double standard between restricted and unrestricted reports insuring all reports are stored for at least 50 years. it also contains a provision for my bill requiring that the disposition of substantiated records be noted in personnel records helping to insure that commanders are aware of repeat offenders. and it contains the language from my be military assault prevention act, and i thank senator murkowski for her support of this which expresses the sense of the senate the charges of rape, sexual assault or attempts to commit these offenses should be disposed of by court-martial rath rather than by administrative action. we want offenders to be convicted and punished, not just given a slap on the wrist by commanders or allowed to shrink away without a discharge. this year's ndaa also includes legislation that i introduced
1:37 pm
with senator mccaskill to add sexual assault and related charges to the list of protected communications that can be investigated by the dod inspector general. this is expanded whistleblower protection that will help insure that service members are able to report sexual assault crimes without facing retaliation. these are just a few of the provisions addressing sexual assault in this bill. we also know that this bill does so much -- i see senator murray is here -- focused on victims' rights and treating our victims with the respect that they deserve. our country is fortunate that we have so many selfless servicemen and women who volunteer to serve their country. when they raise their hands to serve, we take on the responsibility to provide them the means to accomplish their mission and to insure they don't have to worry about what's going on behind the front line. sexual assault in the military betrays that responsibility. if in the course of their service our servicemen and women
1:38 pm
experience an assault that our military failed to prevent, then we owe them the basic decency of justice. i look forward to working on and passing this bill with my colleagues so that we can protect our service members once is and for all. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> the senator from maryland. >> you're seeing something pretty historic with over half of the women of the senate speaking on this issue. i know the press isn't covering it, but i hope on c-span they are. this is a bipartisan effort with 30 reforms that we've agreed to, and it is very, very impressive that we're all here speaking up with one voice, an occasional difference in goals, and i hope
1:39 pm
america's watching. because this hasn't ever happened before. i now turn to the gentlelady from wisconsin for her remarks and then the gentlelady from missouri and then from washington state. >> mr. president? >> the senator from wisconsin. >> mr. president, i rise this morning to speak about this year's national defense authorization legislation and the important reforms that are a part of the underlying bill to improve our military's response to sexual assault within its ranks. the men and women in our armed services serve with courage in defense of our freedoms every single day. in my eyes, their service needs to be respected by taking decisive action to address the ongoing crisis, in fact, you can call it an epidemic of sexual assaults this the military.
1:40 pm
in the military. we know that the system is broken, and it is long past time that we fix it. i want to share just one story from a remarkable and brave woman named rachel who lives in lacrosse, wisconsin. rachel joined the army in 2004. she was sexually assaulted that same year while she was stationed at fort meade in maryland. for advanced individual training. after reporting her assault to her commanding officer, rachel was interrogated for hours over numerous days and, ultimately, forced to drop the charge. she was written up for frat earnization -- frat earnization and her assail land was not charged -- assailant was not charged with any crime. as you can imagine, rachel was deeply affected by the trauma of this crime and continues to face
1:41 pm
struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. but rachel is a survivor and a true inspiration. she has turned her pain and courage into a platform for advocacy and service to her community. working through her organization, survivors empowered through art, to raise awareness about military sexual assault through the power of art and storytelling. rachel's story is a reminder that she is not alone and that we must do everything that we can to make sure that all victims of sexual assault have the support that they deserve. that's why i'm heartened by the many important reforms included in the 2014 national defense authorization act and very grateful to the bipartisan coalition, in particular of
1:42 pm
women senators, who have worked so diligently to make this change happen. if particular, senators -- in particular, senators gillibrand and mccaskill have led the fight to make these improvements. their efforts make a real difference in the lives of countless americans by preventing sexual assault in the military and greatly improving our support to victims. however, i believe that more must be done to end victims of sexual assault, and that is why i am a proud cosponsor of senator gillibrand's amendment which would improve on these important reforms by removing the prosecution of major crimes from the military chain of command. instead, military prosecutors would determine whether to move a case forward which would eliminate inherent bias and conflicts of interest which currently deter victims from reporting sexual assault crimes
1:43 pm
in the first place. i'm also filing an amendment to insure that we're including rotc programs in our conversations about military sexual assault. just like we must insure that our new officers from service academies meet our highest standards, we must do the same of those commissioned in rotc programs across america. i think the important improvements in this year's defense or authorization show the great promise of what can be achieved if we work together in a bipartisan way to get things done for the american people. i have to tell you, it's a tremendous privilege to be a public servant. it's a special privilege to be the first woman elected from my state to the u.s. senate. is one of the best part -- and one of the best parts for me is that i get to be a woman in the senate at a time when there's so
1:44 pm
many incredible other women in the senate to work with, to learn from, to look up to. i want to expressly thank my senate colleagues who serve on the armed services committee; senators mccaskill and hagen, saw heene and jill brand -- shaheen, gillibrand. i want to thank them for their work in guiding this process through their committee in such an effective and bipartisan way. and think banks, of course -- my thanks, of course, go as well to senators levin and ip -- inhofe for their stewardship of these provisions. i'd like to thank senators mikulski and collins for organizing today's floor speeches. the cumulative total of these changes represent true progress in eliminating the tragedy and scourge of sexual assault in our military. and i once again thank my
1:45 pm
colleagues for their bipartisan work. and yield back. >> mr. president? >> senator from missouri. >> i, too, want to thank my colleagues, senator mikulski and senator collins, for making an effort today to highlight the work that has been done on this important issue. i would be less than candid if i didn't say it has been frustrating to have one policy difference dominate the discussion of in this issue over -- of this issue over the previous few weeks without anyone even realizing the historic reforms that are contained in this bill with. and so i welcome the opportunity to come with my colleagues who may disagree on one policy issue, but don't agree -- don't disagree on the goal and are
1:46 pm
taking a moment to recognize the work that has been put into this bill by not just the women of the armed services committee, but the also the men of the armed services committee. after hearings and some of us have spent literally hundreds of hours poring over trial transcripts, spending time visiting with prosecutors, i think we have fashioned historic and amazing changes that are going to forever change the successful prosecution of rapists in our military and go further to protect victims. i come to this issue with a great deal of experience. i think it is not hyperbole or overstating it that i have stood in the courtroom prosecuting
1:47 pm
sexual predators more than any member of the united states senate, hundreds and hundreds of cases i have handled. dozens and dozens and dozens of jury trials. no one in this chamber has intersected with victims of sexual assault more than i have. and i don't think anyone has more of an understanding of the particularly complicated problems that these cases present. especially when there is a consent defense. and keep in mind that the vast majority of these cases in the military are consent defenses. you have two defenses in a sexual assault case. one is it wasn't me, and the other is it was consensual activity. so it doesn't take someone much to understand the principle that in this instance most of these
1:48 pm
cases are going to be consent defenses. now, why to i emphasize that? i emphasize it because it's relevant, it's particularly relevant to the reforms that we embrace in the underlying bill. the time period in which a victim decides that she is going to come forward out of the shadows and hold her perpetrator accountable is invariably very close in time to the time of report. it is how she is treated at that juncture more so than anything else, more so than whether she's been victimized in the military or whether she's been victimized on the streets of your hometown. she is coming forward with the most personally painful moment of her life. now, keep in mind that if you're coming forward with the most
1:49 pm
personally painful moment of your life how complicated that gets if you know the defense is going to be that you wanted it, that it was consensual. and then it is even more difficult. that's why the vast majority of these crimes in our country are never reported. ever. doesn't matter whether we're talking military or civilian. so how can we at that critical moment make sure that victim gets the help and support she or he needs to do the unthinkable, and that is to lay herself or himself bare to the public about what has happened. well, the way you do that is through the reforms that my colleague, senator murray, stressed and that we have incorporated in this bill. and that is that every single victim gets their own lawyer. i don't think many members understand how extraordinary that is.
1:50 pm
that reform alone will make our military the most victim-friendly criminal justice system in the world. in no other criminal justice system anywhere -- civilian, military, united states, our allies -- does a victim get that kind of support. and that's what's underlying in these reforms. we already know it works because it's been a pilot program in the air force. and unlike those who say reporting will never go up unless we make another policy change, reporting is spiking in our military. up 50% just this year. and that is because the victims are getting -- not only do you not have to report in the chain of command, you're going to begin to get the resources, support and help and knowledge you need to navigate the choppiest waters emotionally and
1:51 pm
personally that you will ever encounter. so not only have we done that in the underlying bill, we also have done other things like stripping commanders of their ability to abuse this system, by changing the outcome of a trial. very important. making the crime of retaliation a reality this the military -- in the military. it should be actionable in a criminal court within the military if you retaliate against a victim who reports. and now not only will the victim know that retaliation is a crime, not only will the unit know retaliation is a crime, the victim has her own lawyer who can help press those charges if that occurs. i mean, think of the practical consequences of this reform. you go back into your unit, you're retaliated, you call your
1:52 pm
lawyer. you're not going to believe that they did -- what they did to me today. that lawyer immediately helps you bring charges against those who might retaliate. it requires automatic discharge from the military for rape or assault convictions. there will be other opportunities to debate the policy difference that we have about how these cases are handled in the military, but i cannot say how grateful i am to the dean and to senator collins for doing this today. it is, this is very important that we not lose sight that this isn't about a bumper sticker, it isn't about one side versus the other, this is about doing the very best job we can on the
1:53 pm
policy so that we can protect victims, prosecute offenders and get them the hell out of our military. that's what this is about. and with every fiber of my being, i believe we are going to accomplish that with the reforms that we're embracing. i will come back to the floor to talk more about the amendment i'll be offering on the floor to further, go even further with some of these reforms that we think are necessary, and i am so grateful that my colleagues are taken a moment -- have taken a moment to recognize the obvious, that what we have done is historic, that what we've done we do in agreement and what we've done is going to make a difference. thank you, mr. president. >> mr. president? >> senator from maryland. >> mr. president, how much time do we have under in this morning business agreement. >> [inaudible] >> all time in morning business has currently expired.
1:54 pm
>> we have two mr. speakers in senators, the gentle lady from massachusetts and washington state. i ask unanimous consent morning business be extended to these two for approximately ten minutes. >> is there objection? seeing no objection, their request is granted. >> i now yield to the gentle lady from washington state. >> mr. president? >> senator from washington. >> first, i want to thank the senator from maryland and the senator from for helping to bring so many of us to the floor today to talk about an issue that cuts across partisan lines and has plagued our nation's military and has gone unaddressed for far too long. military sexual assault is an epidemic, and it has rightly been identified as such by the pentagon. it is absolutely unconscionable that a fellow service member, the person you rely on to have your back and to be there for
1:55 pm
you, would commit such a terrible crime. it is simply appalling that they can commit such a personal violation of their brother or sister in uniform. but what's worse and what has made change an absolute necessity is the prevalence of these crimes. recent estimates tell us that 26,000 service members are sexually assaulted each year. and just over 3,000 of those assaults are reported. according to the department of veterans affairs, about one in five female veterans treated by the va has suffered from military sexual trauma. one in five. that is certainly not the act of a comrade. it is not in keeping with the ethos of any of the services, and it can no longer be tolerated. and that is why the women of the senate have been united in calling for action. mr. president, there has been made much of the fact that there are now 20 women in the senate,
1:56 pm
an historic number that i think we all agree can still grow, but it's important to remember that the number alone should not be what is historic. instead, it's what we do with our newfound strength to address the issues that are impacting women across the country. with this bill the first defense authorization of this bill, we are doing exactly that. we are taking historic action to help service members access the resources they need to seek justice without fear. and, mr. president, one way this bill will do just that, how it will protect our service members and assist victims and punish criminals, is through the inclusion of a bill i introduced across party lines with senator ayotte. our bill, which is included in the base bill, creates a new category of legal advocates called special victims counsels. they would be responsible for advocating on behalf of the interests of the victim.
1:57 pm
these special victims counsels would advise the victim on the range of legal issues they may face. for example, when a young private first class is intimidated into not reporting a sexual assault by threatening her with unrelated legal charges like underage drinking, this new advocate would be there to protect her and tell her the truth. since january now the air force has provided these advocates to over 500 victims through an innovative new pilot program. ten months later the results are speaking for themselves. 92% of victims are extremely satisfied with the advice and support their sbc lent them through the military judicial process. 98% would recommend other victims request these advocates, and 93% felt that these advocates effectively fought on their we half. behalf. in describing their experience with an advocate, one victim shared that, quote: going
1:58 pm
through this was the hardest thing i ever had to do in my life. having a special victim counsel helped tremendously. no words could describe how much i appreciate having one of these advocates. so, mr. president, through our bipartisan efforts, the defense authorization bill will also enhance the responsibility and authority of dod's sexual assault prevention and response office known as the sapro. this improvement will help to provide better oversight of efforts to combat military sexual assault across the armed forces. sapro would also be required to regularly track and report on a range of nsa statistics including assault rates and the number of cases brought to trial and compliance within each of the individual services. now, some of the data collection already being done, so this is not going to be too burdensome, but it will give the office
1:59 pm
authority to track and report to us on the extent of the problem. mr. president, i believe the great strength of our military is in the character and dedication of our men and women who wear that uniform. it is the courage of these americans to volunteer to serve that are the pentagon's greatest asset. i know it's said a lot, but take a moment to really think about that. our service members volunteer to face danger, to put tear lives on the line -- their lives on the line, to protect our country and all its people. when we think of those dangers, we think of ieds, we think of battles with insurgents. we shouldn't have to focus on the threats they encounter from their own fellow service members. and we should never allow for a culture in which the fear of reporting a crime allows a problem like this to fester year after year. these are dangers that can never be accepted, and none of our courageous service members
2:00 pm
should ever have to face them. earlier this year i asked navy secretary ray mabus about the sexual assault epidemic, and i was glad he told we that, quote: concern was not a strong enough word to describe how he feels about this problem. he said he is angry about it. and i know many of us here are as well, particularly our female colleagues who have dedicated so much time to this issue. share their feeling, this feeling and want to put an end to this epidemic. so i am hopeful that we can work quickly to do right by our nation's heroes, because when our best and brightest put on a uniform and join the united states armed forces, they do so with the understanding that they will sacrifice much in the name of fending our country and its people. but that sacrifice should never have to come in the form of abuse from their fellow service members. i'm proud that the women in this senate have taken this issue head on and.
2:01 pm
and what should never be lost in the effort to enact the many changes taffe been proposed is that for too long this was an issue that was simply swept under the rug. that is to longer the case. thanks to bipartisan cooperation, the work of thousands of dedicated advocates and the voices of countless victims who have bravely spoken out, we are poised to make a difference on an issue that women everywhere have brought out of the shadows. and i am proud of the women that have worked so hard on this issue. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> senator from massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. president. i rise today to exrest my strong support finish express my strong support for efforts to stamp out sexual assault in our military. and i want to begin by thanking the senator from maryland and the senator from maine for your extraordinary leadership in bringing us here today to speak out on this issue. for over 20 years, our military
2:02 pm
has said that it has a zero tolerance policy towards sexual violence. government agencies have put out 20 reports examining the problem and suggesting potential solutions. and yet shamefully, incidents of sexual assault involving our military personnel continue at staggering rates. data from the department of defense indicate that thousands of men and women serving in the military are subject to these horrific experiences every year. more than 20% of women serving in the military have reported unwanted sexual contact at some point during the course of their military service. and perhaps most shameful, about half of all female victims in a 2012 dod survey indicated they did not report these crimes because they believed that such reports would simply be ignored. this is an outrageous situation. we have called on the military over and over to solve this
2:03 pm
problem, and they have failed. simply calling once again on the military to reform will be an cers in due tilt. finish exercise in futility. worse, it will be a breach of trust with the men and women who are future victims of sexual predators lurking in the military. these are important steps forward that we take today. we take -- the number of extremely strong provisions to address sexual assault included in this year's national defense authorization act will move us in the right direction. these provisions are designed to crack down on sexual assault. to better protect and advocate for victims and to change the climate within our military to one that ends this despicable conduct. the bill includes provisions to promote the prosecution of these cases by eliminating the statute of limitations on certain sexual offense cases and by limiting the ability of commanding officers to modify court-martial
2:04 pm
findings in sexual offense cases. the bill requires the provision of a special victims counsel to provide legal support for service members who are victims of sexual violence at the hands of other members of the military and takes steps to limit the potential for victims to be mistreated by defense counsel. there are other important steps forward in this bill, and as the senate debates the defense bill, we will conside additional provisions to prosecute and eliminate sexual assault. i support those efforts as well. the issue of sexual violence within our armed forces is very personal to me. all three of my brothers served in the military. my oldest brother was career military and flew 288 combat missions in vietnam. i know the unbelievable sacrifices that our military men and women make for this country and the sacrifices their families make to support them. and yet in spite of those sacrifices we as a nation have
2:05 pm
consistently refused to take sufficient steps to insure that our military men and women are protected from sexual violence on the job. tolerance for sexual assaults demeans the sacrifices that millions of brave men and women have stepped forward to make on our behalf. we owe it to our service members and to their families to change the culture in our military that remains far too tolerant of this abuse. we owe it to our service members and to their families to do everything in our power to stamp out these incidents. no matter the outcome of this week's amendment vote, this year's defense authorization act will make significant strides toward finally making the military's zero tolerance policy a reality. i am proud to support these efforts, and i promise that so long as these crimes continue to occur, so long as victims are
2:06 pm
fearful to come forward, so long as justice is denied to victims, i promise that we will be back with right here next year and the year after that and the year after that doing everything we can to end sexual assault in the military. the brave men and women serving in our armed forces have no intention of giving up on us, and we have no intention of live giving up on -- of giving up on them. thank you, mr. president. i yield my time. >> mr. president? >> senator from maryland. >> mr. president, with the eloquent statement by the gentle lady from massachusetts, we are now concluding the time that the women of the senate have taken on a bipartisan basis to speak out against sexual assault in the military and to speak for the 30 reforms that we all have agreed upon on a bipartisan
2:07 pm
basis that will enable prosecutor y'all reform, help to the victims, guarantee the fairness for the process and make sure that if you come forward, that you will not be retaliated against, you will not be ignored. but if you're also accused, you will get a fair process. i'm really proud of the way the seven women on the armed services committee got this and then joined by the rest of us, social workers, advocates, a former attorney generals are here, and we couldn't have done it, though, without the very good men on the committee, senator levin and the help of senator inhofe. and i note the gentleman from rhode island is here, senator reed. we want to thank him for his strong advocate is si for women. the advance amount of women in the -- advancement of women in
2:08 pm
the military and also these important reforms. i also just want to say something as the dean of the women. this is pretty historic, what we did this morning. you know, you had ten women from the united states senate across the aisle speaking out on 30 goals, 30 reforms that were agreed to in the underlining bill. this is what the american people wanted, us working together with the chairman of the committee listening to victims, listening to experts, listening to the military. and you know what's disappointing to me in there was one person in the press gallery. now, if we had been in conflict -- and there will be a difference later on where there are some differences in some policy, that's okay with me -- but we don't make press anymore? we don't make press when we've actually worked together and worked with such incredible diligence and expertise among
2:09 pm
ourselves to solve these really egregious and historically intransigent problems? so i say to the press, we know you like conflict, you know you like controversy. you particularly want to see it among the women. well, you know, we have a precedent where we have disagreed before on goals. when i got the fight with lily ledbetter, senator kay bailey hutchison took we on with nine amendments. we had a good debate, and we had a good bill at the end of it. senator murkowski, the gentle lady from alaska, has also agreed with me on what should be the best approach on preventive health. debate, diligence without personal conflict, we then came up with some good ideas. and i say here today when i listen to our colleagues on the ore side of the aisle -- other side of the aisle, again, with great backgrounds and here
2:10 pm
today, this is pretty historic. so if you're watching on c-span, you saw history being made. ten of us, and there will be more later on today, where we actually agreed. we are trying to govern the way we were elected to govern, and i'm proud of what we're going to do with the reforms that are there, i'm proud of the way we've gone about it. and if we disagree on some matters here or there, that's what debate, intellectual rigor and civility will be all ant. so, mr. president, i'm going to conclude this debate for now. other women will be coming throughout the day, and we know we will be debating some other important policy goals. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> just after a group of women senators finished speeches about provisions dealing with military sexual assault contained in the 2014 defense program's bill, senator carl rev vin, the chairman of the armed services committee, and the bill manager
2:11 pm
for floor debate, came to the senate chamber to update members on the status of the bill along with amendments. >> later this morning the senate is going to resume consideration of senate bill 11ed 7, the -- the --1197, the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2014. and i'll have a full statement to make on this legislation later today. however, i'd like to take just a moment to talk to my colleagues about where we are on the bill and how we would like to proceed. last night the majority leader asked for unanimous consent to bring up side by side amendments on subjects that we know we need to debate and vote on. military detention at guantanamo and sexual assault and misconduct in the military. each amendment and side by side was to be subject to a 60-vote threshold. unfortunately, there was an objection to this request. and as a result of that objection, the majority leader
2:12 pm
filled the amendment tree on our bill. now we're in a position where we are going to need the cooperation of all senators to get this important bill passed, as we must, in the limited time available to us before thanksgiving week. in order that we'll have time to go to conference, get a conference report and bring that conference report back to the house and to the senate. now, it remains our intention to bring up and vote on as many relevant amendments to the bill as possible, and i know that the republican manager and the ranking member -- senator inhofe -- shares this objective. toward this end, i expect there will be further attempts later in the day to reach a unanimous consent on the first amendments to be brought brought up. and that will be a repeat of the unanimous consent that was offered last night for those first two amendments. it is also our intention, mr. president, to clear amendments
2:13 pm
as we have always done on this bill. i urge our colleagues, if you have amendments to file them, bring them to us so we can try to clear them. the part/minority staffs of the armed services committee are working hard on this s and we hope to have a first package of cleared amendments ready for consideration later today, and we will continue to go through that process during the week. finishing this bill is going to be a very difficult task. we have managed to do et for the last -- we have managed toot it for the last 51 years, and i am confident that with the cooperation of all senators that we'll be able to do it again this year. we must for the sake of our troops, their families ask our nation. i yield floor. >> every weekend since 1998 booktv has brought you the top nonfiction authors including hannah rosen. >> first of all, i think increasingly women's identities are tied up to their work in a way we in which we may not like,
2:14 pm
but it is, in fact, true. like when i look at someone like marissa mayer who was recently chosen to be the ceo of yahoo! when she was visibly pregnant and and then was asked how much that alternativety leave do you want to take and she said basically none, like the fact that such women exist, it's not the way i would do -- i mean, i took plenty of maternity leave, but i, but i feel like that is a growing number, you know, that is a kind of woman that there can be space for. and the fact that there are some stay-at-home dads who are happy and do not entirely live in portland, oregon, you know, that is okay too. >> we're the only national television network devoted exclusively to nonbe fiction books. and throughout the fall we're marking 15 years of booktv on c-span2. >> the senate's about to return from their usual tuesday party caucus lunches and are expected
2:15 pm
to continue work on a spending outline for 2014 defense programs. amendments are expected on sexual assault in the military, guantanamo bay and pentagon spending levels along with roll call votes. live coverage here on c-span2. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that the time until 4:00 p.m. be for debate only with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: madam president, i would hope members would now come down and debate particularly if we can start off again with the legislation on guantanamo, there will be two amendments here, one will be an amendment by senator ayotte, and the other one would be an amendment by myself with senator mccain, the levin-mccain amendment. i would hope that those who are
2:16 pm
bed interested in this subject particularly would come down between now and then and that we could perhaps even reach a vote on guantanamo, the two amendments side by side later this afternoon. that's the goal, it's not part of the unanimous consent proposal but that would be a goal, and i know my friend from oklahoma and i are able to work things out most often and we'll try to figure out some way hopefully to get to votes on these two amendments we have identified as being the amendments which i think everybody agrees not on the outcome of the vote but agrees need to be debated and resolved. so i would yield the floor. mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: first of all, let me say that i appreciate all the help that the chairman has given us during the course of this very difficult time. i would also suggest that we've gone through this same thing other years in the past.
2:17 pm
one of the things, there are so many people demanding or wanting to have a system where we could have more amendments, and i would encourage anyone who has amendments to go ahead and send them to the floor. it doesn't do any good to talk about them unless have you them down here, and i would hope that the chairman and i would get together and we could have actually more amendments. so those people who want to be heard on this, we have adopted this timing so we encourage you to come down and be heard. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i want to thank my friend from oklahoma because he is -- said what needs to be said here, which is that we welcome amendments being brought to the floor, we will do our best to try to clear those amendments, which means obviously consulting with not just the sponsors but potential opponents to try to
2:18 pm
see if we can work things out. on this bill we've always been able to work out amendments, sometimes as many as a hundred, we need to have votes on this bill but we also can clear amendments, we work together on a bipartisan basis to do that and so i join in his request that senators that have amendments get them to us to see if we can't possibly work them out. madam president, we simply must finish this bill this week. the timetable is such that if we are going to finish this bill as we have for 51 straight years, we've got to get this bill to conference. and that is in and of itself will take a week, and then we've got to bring the conference report back if we can reach an agreement on it to both houses and that that will -- that will take as much as of a week as well under the rules. so we need the cooperation of every member of this body.
2:19 pm
and i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: thank you, madam president. i want to rise at this point to discuss my amendment, wicker amendment 2185, and i think they may be bringing a podium around for me but perhaps it's not necessary because i only have a few moments that i will need. but this is an important amendment, and i hope the leadership of this committee is paying attention. my amendment would prohibit foreign governments from constructing on united states soil satellite positioning ground monitoring stations. i think many americans were surprised, madam president, when on november 16 "the new york times" published an article by michael schmidt and eric schmidt entitled "a russian
2:20 pm
g.p.s. using u.s. soil stirs spy fears." let me repeat that. a russian g.p.s. using u.s. soil, and i ask unanimous consent that a copy of this article be inserted at this point into the record, madam president. do i have unanimous consent to insert that? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wicker: this article alab braits on a proposal under review by our own state department, by our own state department to allow the russian space agency to construct half a dofn ground monitoring stations on u.s. soil. the article describes these potential sites as seemingly innocuous dome topped antenna perched atop a building surrounded by a security fence somewhere in the united states. taken at face value, these russian ground monitoring
2:21 pm
stations are supposed to improve the accuracy and reliability of russia's version of the global positioning system. now, according to the times article, the obama administration is actively considering this request by moscow in an attempt to reset once again the administration's failed reset policy which the president once hailed as the beginning of better u.s.-russia relations. we have every reason to be skeptical of russia's he intentions to utilize g.p.s. monitoring stations on u.s. soil. let me repeat this, madam president. g.p.s. monitoring stations controlled by russia on u.s. soil. time and again president putin has shown he is unwilling to cooperate with america, the list of grievances continues to grow, let's not forget russia has granted asylum to edward
2:22 pm
snowden who is charged with espionage and theft of government property after releasing 200,000 classified documents to the press. let's not forget russia has defended the brutal regime of syrian president bashar al-assad and perpetuated the dictator's grip of power with military aid and russia, the same russia that wants to put g.p.s. stations on u.s. soil, has denied arena orphans the chanceth a better life in the united states with a ban on u.s. adoptions. ultimately victimizing the most vulnerable in a desperate attempt to distract the world from russia's human rights failings. it's clear that russia's interests are not often aligned with those of the united states. accordingly, i'm deeply concerned and people within the intelligence community are deeply concerned and people
2:23 pm
within the defense department are deeply concerned about the russian proposal to use u.s. soil to strengthen russia's g.p.s. capabilities. these ground monitoring stations could be used for the purpose of gathering intelligence, even more troubling these stations could actually improve the accuracy of foreign missiles targeted at the united states. so, madam president, our national security and foreign policy apparatus is large and widespread, i don't question anyone's patriotism, or the intentions of the state department, but it is clear that there are other parts of the administration that are very concerned about this. so this morning i had the opportunity to review a classified report by d.o.d., i encourage all members of the senate to review this classified
2:24 pm
document. and to me, i think it will reaffirm the need for increased transparency on this very serious matter. senators lee, fischer, and cornyn so far have joined me in filing an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would fully inform the american people about the implications of the russian proposal. my amendment would prohibit the construction of g.p.s. monitoring stations by any foreign government on u.s. soil until the secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence jointly certify to the congress that these stations do not have the capabilities to gather intelligence or improve foreign weapons systems. ma my amendment would also require a report to congress on the use of satellite positioning ground monitoring stations by foreign governments. the amendment is simple and straightforward and i urge my colleagues to support its
2:25 pm
inclusion in the defense authorization bill and i encourage cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. thank you, madam president. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, on behalf of the sentence armed services committee -- the senate armed services committee we're please 20ed bring the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2013 to the senate floor. the armed services committee approved the bill by a 23-3 vote on june 13 making this the 52nd consecutive year that our committee has reported a defense authorization act. the strong bipartisan vote for this bill in the armed services committee continues the tradition of our committee where members have continued to come together to support the national defense and our men and women in uniform.
2:26 pm
i thank senator inhofe for the major contribution that he has made to this process in his first year as the ranking republican on the committee. this year's bill would authorize $625.1 billion for national defense programs. the same amount as the president's budget request. unless the congress acts to modify or eliminate the sequestration required by the budget control act, however, this amount will automatically be reduced by $50 billion leaving the department of defense with far less than it needs to meet the requirements of our national military strategy. u.s. forces are drawing down in afghanistan and are no longer deployed in iraq. however, the real threats to our national security remain and our forces are deployed throughout the global. over the course of the last year, the civil war in syria has become increasingly destructive, north korea has engaged in a series of
2:27 pm
provocative acts, iran has moved forward with its nuclear program and al qaeda affiliates have continued to seek safe havens in yemen, somalia, north africa and elsewhere. it is particularly important that we do what we can to sustain the compensation and quality of life that our service men and women and their families deserve as they face the hardships imposed by continuing military operations around the world. toward this end, our bill, one, authorizes a 1% across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services consistent with the president's request. second, it reauthorizes over 30 types of bonuses and special pays aimed at encouraging enlistment, and continued service by active duty and reserve component military personnel. next, it does not include department of defense proposals to establish or increase health care fees, deductibles and
2:28 pm
co-payments that would primarily affect working age military retirees and their families. next, it authorizes $25 million in supplemental impact aid to local educational agencies with military dependent children and $5 million in impact aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities and provides funding for the department of defense star base program. it enhances the department of defense's programs to assist veterans in their transition to civilian life by improving access to credentialing programs for civilian occupational specialties. the bill also includes funding needed to provide our troops the equipment and support that they need for ongoing combat, counterinsurgency and stability operations around the world. for example, the bill funds the president's request for
2:29 pm
$80.7 billion for overseas contingency operations. it authorizes $9.9 billion for u.s. special operations command, including both base budget funding and oco funding. it authorizes nearly a billion dollars for counteri.e.d. efforts, beginning to ramp down spentures in -- extendures in this area while ensuring that we protect our forces from roadside bombs. the fill funds the afghanistan forces fund to train and eke equip the afghan police so we can complete the transition of security responsibility as planned by the end of 2014. it reauthorizes the use of d.o.d. funds to reintegrate insurgent forces into afghanistan.
2:30 pm
it authorizes the secretary of defense upon a determination from the president that it is in the national security interests of the united states to use up to $150 million of amounts authorized for the coalition support fund account in fiscal 2013 and 2014 to support the border security operations of the jordanian armed forces and it extends global train and equip section 1206 authority through 2008 to help build the capacity of foreign force partners to conduct counterterrorism and stability operations. the bill before us addresses major issues that are of particular importance to the department of defense including relative to the detention facility at guantanamo bay, cuba, and the problem of sexual assault and misconduct in the military. as to on guantanamo, this bill would provide our military with needed flexibility to determine how long we need to detain
2:31 pm
individuals now held in the gitmo detention facility and where else we might hold them. for a number of years now, congress has enacted legislation eliminating this flexibility and requiring that we continue to hold all gitmo detainees detains regardless of cost and whether it is needed in our national security interests. the existing legislation has made it more difficult to try detainees for their crimes and nearly impossible to return them to their home countries. for example, even if we have a strong case that a detainee has committed crimes for which he could be indicted and convicted in a federal court, the current law -- existing law makes it impossible to try here or there. even if we have determined that a detainee poses no ongoing security threat to the united states, we cannot send him back to his home country unless the secretary of defense certifies
2:32 pm
to six stringent conditions, and even if the individual is likely with to die without advanced medical treatment, we cannot remove him from gitmo for the purpose for receiving such treatment. as a result, the legislation that we have on the books has reinforced the impression held by many around the world that guantanamo is a legal black hole where we hold detainees without recourse. this perception has been used by ow enemies to -- by our enemies to recruit jihadists to attack us and it has made our friends less willing to cooperate with us in our efforts to fight terrorism around the world. the gitmo detention facility is not only a recruiting tool for our enemies, but it has become an obsolete white elephant that costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year. it can no longer be justified based on the rationale for creating gitmo in the first place. a dozen years ago, the bush administration started sending detainees to gitmo, in large
2:33 pm
part out of a desire to avoid the jurisdiction of the u.s. courts and ensure that detainees would have no legal avenue to apeel theiaappeal their convict. whether oned that approach -- whether or not one supported that approach, that -- gitmo detainees would be treated as, inside the united states for the purpose of habeas corpus appeals. instead of recognizing that the gitmo deteption facility is no longer needed, however, we have enacted legislation which makes it virtually impossible to move detainees anywhere else. ensuring that the facility will remain open whether it is needed for particular inmates or not. -- or detainees, excuse me, or not. the current law prohibits the transfer of any detainee to the united states for detention under the law of armed conflict or trial before a military
2:34 pm
commission or, in civi in civil. the basis for these legislative obstacles appears to be the fear that returning gitmo detainees to the home countries or transferring them to the united states would pose an unacceptable threat to our national security. however, madam president, we have brought numerous terrorists to the united states for trial and incarceration without adverse effect to our national security. in just the last three years, for example, we have brought three foreign terrorists into the united states for trial. the first is abu ghaith, osama bin laden's son iosamabin ladeno remains in federal custody without incident. the second is abdul abdicator
2:35 pm
who remains in federal custody. ed third is ahmed dullaney, a gitmo detainee convicted in federal court, received a life sentence and remains in federal custody without incident. moreover, our military has routinely detained individuals on the battlefield in afghanistan and then exercised the discretion to transfer them to local jurisdiction or even to release them. if we can trust our military to make these determinations on a day-to-day basis, we should be able to trust them to make the same determinations in -- at gitmo. the risk that any of these detainees can once again engage in activities hostile to our interests around the world has been substantially reduced by the rigorous procedures that our military has instituted to review individual cases and ensure that appropriate protections are in place before
2:36 pm
transferring any detainee back to his home country. these procedures have resulted in a dramatic decline in the s so-called is he rid vism rate over the last five years. while over 160 gitmo detainees released by the bush administration are known to be engaged in activities hostile to our interests after their transfer or release, only seven detainees released by the obama administration, less than 10% of the total, are known or suspected to have engaged in such activities. this rigorous review process would be codified by the provision in our bill, which would require that the secretary of defense determine prior to transferring a gitmo detainee that the transfer is in our national security interest and that actions have been taken to mitigate any risk that the detainee could again engage in
2:37 pm
any activity that threatens united states persons or interests. it is time for us to move past the fear that our country somehow lacks the capacity to handle gitmo detainees and allow our military to address the transfer of detainees in a rational manner, based on the facts of each case. as to sexual misconduct, this bill includes the most comprehensive legislation targeting sexual misconduct and assault in the military ever considered by congress. our committee adopted more than two dozen separate provisions and a host of historic, significant reforms addressing sexual assault and prevention. in particular, the bill makes it a crime under the uniform code of military justice to retaliate against the victim who reports a sexual assault and it requires the d.o.d. i.g. to review and
2:38 pm
investigate any allegation of sex retaliation. our bill establishes the speculation that commanders will be relieved of their command if they fail to maintain a complimenclimatein which victimd without fear. our bill requires service serkt secretaries to provide a special victims' counsel to provide legal advice and assistan assiso service members. our bill amends article 60 of the uniformed code of military diswrowft limb the authority of a commander to overturn a verdict for rape, sexual assault, forceable sod me and other offenses. our bill eliminates the characteristic of the accused from the factors for accused. our bill requires commanding officers to immediately refer
2:39 pm
any allegation of a sexual misconduct offense involving service members to the appropriate investigative agency. our bill requires that the sentence for service members quicked of rape, sexual assault, forceable sod me or an amendment to commit one of those phones include, a the a minimum, a dismissal or dishonorable discharge. our bill requires that owl substantiated complaints of sexual relatable offenses be noted in their record our bill eliminates the five-year stawft limitations on trial by court-martial for certain sexual related offenses. our bill codifies a prohibition on military service by individualindividuals convictedl offenses. some have argued that we should also change the military justice system by removing commanders from their current role in deciding what cases should be prosecuted and instead place
2:40 pm
that authority in the hands of military lawyers. however, the testimony before our committee showed that commanders, if aer from being reluctant to prosecute sexual offenses, are more likely to prosecute those phones than civilian or military lawyers. further, removing authority from commanding officers would distance them from these cases and make them less accountable, making it more difficult for them to take the steps needed to protect victims from peer pressure, ostracism and retaliation. while taking authority away from the chain of command would indeed be a dramatic change, this change would actually afford the victims of sexual assault less protection and make it less likely that sexual assaults will be prosecuted than the current system. for this reason, we adopted an alternative approach that will better protect victims.
2:41 pm
our approach is to require a commander who receives an allegation of sexual assault either to prosecute it or have it automatically reviewed by his or her commander, almost always a general or flag officer. and if a commander chooses not to prosecute against the advice of legal counsel, the case receives automatic rye view by a service -- review by a service secretary. this will allow commanders to continue an aggressive approach to prosecuting sexual offenses while ensuring against the unusual case in which a commander might decide not to pursue a case that could be successfully prosecuted. an important part of this problem is the underreporting and inadequate investigation of sexual assaults. there is still inadequate support for victims of sexual assaults. there's also a major problem with retaliation, ostracism, and
2:42 pm
peer pressure against victims. and underneath it all remains a culture that has taken inadequate steps to correct this situation. in the end, getting this right will require sustained leadership by commanders who can be held accountable for conduct in their units. it is more difficult to hold someone accountable for failure to act if you reduce his or her authority to act. we want commanders fully engaged in a resolution of this problem and not divorced from it. throughout our deliberations on this issue, we were guided bay single goal: passing the strongest, most effective measures to combat sexual assault by holding perpetrators accountable and protecting and supporting victims. we believe our bill does that.
2:43 pm
madam president, our country relies on the mis men and womenf our military and the civilians who support them to keep us safe, to help us meet u.s. national security objectives around the world. we expect them to put their lives on the line every day, and in return we tell them we will stand by them and their families, that we will provide them with the best training, the best equipment, and the best support available to any military anywhere in the world. as of today, we have roughly 1.4 million u.s. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines serving on active duty. but tens of thousands engaged in combat in afghanistan and stationed in other regional hot spots around the globe. while there are issues on which
2:44 pm
members may disagree, we all know that we must provide our troops the support that they need. senate action on the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2014 will improve the quality of life for our men and women in uniform and their families. it will give them the tools that they need to remain the most effective fighting force in the world. and, most important of all, it will send an important message that we as a nation stand behind them and appreciate their service. i look afford to working with all of our colleagues to pass this vital legislation and again would urge all of our colleagues who have amendments to bring them to our attention so that e can try very hard to clear amendments which can get support on both sides of the aisle and which have no strong objection. this has been a process which has worked for as many years as i've been here, and it's the
2:45 pm
only way that we're going to be able to get a bill passed this week, and, again, it is critically important that this bill pass this week or else there seems to be very little hope that we could actually get a bill to conference and back to both houses. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. marriage: mr. manchin: i ask to speak for up to five minutes and after i conclude my remarks i ask for senator chambliss could be recognized fol followed by senator ayotte. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: i ask unanimous consent began gilbert my department of defense fellow and ericc miller be granted floor privileges through the consideration of the national defense authorization act through final passage. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: i rise to highlight
2:46 pm
the air land subcommittee in the 2014 authorization act as reported by the committee on armed services. i'm very proud to be chairman of the air-land subcommittee and for the close working relationships that i have with senator wicker, the ranking member of the subcommittee. the air-land subcommittee has broad responsibilities for parts of the budgets. the air-land subcommittee also has responsibility for national guard and reserve equipment and readiness. as a former governor i know firsthand how effective the national guard is and they provide a great value for all americans. throughout this process, the goal of the air-land subcommittee has been to promote and improve current and future readiness of our military. all while ensuring the most efficient and effective use of taxpayers' dollars. this year the air-land subcommittee has jurisdiction over $49 billion of the defense department's base and overseas
2:47 pm
contingency particulars budget -- contingency budget, this includes $37.1 billion for procurement and $11.1 billion for research and development. the subcommittee's recommendation fully support the department's budget request for contingency operations and would support most of the weapons and equipment programs as requested. however, sequestration presents many challenges. we can no longer spend billions of dollars buying equipment that the military does not need or want. just a few days ago the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general dempsey provided me with a list ref programs that the department of defense no longer needs or do they want or -- and they want to retire. this much is clear, we can no longer conduct business as usual. in fact, the bowles-simpson commission recommended the department of defense and congress establish a commission to review major weapons programs and needed by the department.
2:48 pm
this is something we should take a look at and i look forward to working with my colleagues on this important issue. and the commission on the structure of the air force is already reviewing and will make recommendations on the retirements and the divestitures of aircraft the military no longer needs. in future subcommittee work i will be reviewing general dempsey's list and working with my colleagues on the programs that the department no longer needs. congress must debate this important issue so that we spend every dollar we have wisely. and keep our military the strongest in the world. i want to compliment senator wicker again on how well i think that we have worked together this year and thank chairman levin and ranking member inhofe and the wonderful committee staff who have worked so closely with my staff and me on this bill. madam president, thank you and i yield the floor.
2:49 pm
the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: first of all, let me say that -- to my friend from west virginia i happen to serve on that subcommittee and i was in the hearing the other day when he asked general dempsey, a very appropriate question, we thought a very strong answer was going to be given by general dempsey to the senator from west virginia,'s question regarding expenditures mandated by congress that the chiefs and other folks at the pentagon have said they don't need and as i and i were discussing we finally got that letter yesterday and i was somewhat of a tepid response rather than the strong response we had hoped for. in any event, the senator from west virginia and senator coburn and i will work together to develop a list of expenditures that either are unwanted by the pentagon that congress has
2:50 pm
mandated or expenditures that ought to be spent in some other agency but, unfortunately, is being charged to the pentagon. so i do look forward to working with him on that issue and i thank he and senator wicker for their leadership on that subcommittee. i rise principally today, madam president, in support of the ayotte-chambliss-inhofe amendment number 2255 which would restore many of the legislative limits and requirements that congress has placed in recent years on the transfer of guantanamo bay detainees and prevent medical-related transfers to the united states. i believe these legislative safeguards are vital to our national security and essential to good intelligence collection. for several years now we have been debating the status of guantanamo bay and the detainees who remain there. time and time again in the course of these debates i have asked this administration to come up with a viable long-term
2:51 pm
detention and interrogation policy and, frankly, they have failed to do so because of a stubborn commitment to a poorly thought out campaign promise to close guantanamo. the call to close guantanamo bay may sound like a good campaign sound bite to some people but, frankly, in the real world of national security it undermines good intelligence collection and increases the risk that dangerous detainees will be back on the streets where they can continue as they have to kill and harm americans. these are not abstract theories. they are facts. the recidivism rate is nearly 29% and has been climbing steadily since detainees began being released from guantanamo. this includes nearly 10% of detainees who have returned to the fight after being transferred by the current administration following the administration's extensive
2:52 pm
review of each detainee. al qaeda in the asian peninsula counts former detainees not just among its members but among its leaders. a former guantanamo detainee is believed to have been involved in last year's benghazi attacks that killed our ambassador and three other americans. the administration's stubborn refusal to add even one more terrorist to the gitmo detainee population has forced the executive branch back into the pre-9/11 mindset of treating terrorists as ordinary criminals, a mindset we know doesn't work. a lot of people will come to this floor on the other side of the aisle and say, well, we have tried all these terrorists in article 3 courts in the united states and it has worked. for the most part they have been convicted and they are now serving time. that's a fairly accurate
2:53 pm
statement, except what they fail to say is that these article 3 trials of terrorists that have been arrested inside the united states are nowhere near the caliber of those who planned and carried out the attack of 9/11 as well as those who were captured on the battlefield seeking to kill and harm americans and in a lot of instances did kill americans and maim americans that are now housed at guantanamo bay. that is a very, very distinct difference and those prisoners should not be treated the same as an ordinary common burglar is treated in an article 3 court in the united states. in response to valid criticisms of the approach that the mindset of 9/11 is being returned to, the administration now seems to favor interrogations on board naval vessels. the end result, however, has been no different.
2:54 pm
at the end of the day these brief interrogations -- at the end of the interrogations those individuals have been transferred to federal courts here in the united states where they are unlikely to provide any more intelligence information because they have been mirandaized and you senator waiting trial. from the christmas day bomber to the boston bomber the east africa ambassadors bomber this prosecution has become the administration's standard operating procedure. this is no way to defend our nation and it sends a message of weakness to terrorists and our allies alike. this amendment that senator ayotte, senator inhofe, and i are putting forward sends the right message number one to the american people, it ensures that our detention practices have clarity for the next year and that on a permanent basis no
2:55 pm
detainee will be transferred overseas unless there is a clear certification that the transfer is in the best interest of the united states. this also sends a very clear message to the terrorists at guantanamo bay. you are not coming to the united states where you will have the advantage of article 3 courts. this amendment includes five provisions. number one, it imposes a one-year ban on transfers to the united states of guantanamo detainees except in cases after the date of enactment where the detainee sent to -- is sent to guantanamo for purposes of interrogation. two, it imposes a one-year ban on transfers of detainees to yemen and i'll talk more about that in a minute. it imposes a one-year ban on building or modifying 123eu89s inside the u.s. to house guantanamo detainees, four, it makes permanent the
2:56 pm
certification requirements needed before any transfer of a detainee overseas and lastly, it strikes the provision in the bill that allows transfers of detainees to the united states purely for medical care. let me address each provision very briefly. first, i have yet to hear why it's a good idea to bring guantanamo detainees to the united states. while the president made a promise to close guantanamo, the american people seem unified against bringing these detainees to the u.s. for any reasons and i believe that we should listen to the american people. it's clear that given the secretary of defense the authority to bring detainees here for detention, trial and incarceration will have the same impact as congress lifting the prohibition outright. but the same issues we have been talking about for several years and that g.a.o. identified in its 2012 report on detention
2:57 pm
options inside the united states still exist. these include cost considerations, questions about the legal status of the detainees, and concerns about protecting the general public and personnel at these facilities or during trial. now, let's look at who these 164 individuals are that remain at guantanamo. we started out with about 860-something, as i recall, give or take a few, so we have already released both to other countries and in some cases where we, frankly, made a mistake, individuals who have not have been there or has been determined by the appropriate reviewing committees that these detainees were okay to be sent back to their country of origin or to some other host country that was willing to take them and supervise them or keep them
2:58 pm
in detention but to get them out of guantanamo. now the 164 that are remaining are the meanest, nastiest terrorists in the world, frankly. they're the ones that nobody is going to want. so if nobody else wants them, why should we allow them to come to the united states? these are the individuals that either planned and masterminded the attack on the united states on september 11, 2001 such as khalid sheik mohammed or they're individuals who we picked pikd up on the battlefield who were actively engaged in fighting and killing americans as well as engaged in building bombs intended to and in a lot of instances did explode and either kill or injure americans. now, some of these folks range from k.s.m. to the u.s.s. kohl bomber who are awaiting trial and should be tried at
2:59 pm
guantanamo. in other words, they are dangerous detainees who should not and cannot be sent to any other country. many of us have been calling on the administration to send new detainees to guantanamo simply for interrogation. detainees like al-shabaab leader, east african ambassadors bombing suspect who was arrested in libya recently and suspects in the benghazi attacks, all belong at guantanamo where they can be interrogated for a long time under the rules and articles of war without miranda rights or criminal defense lawyers. but this administration has consistently refused to even consider guantanamo for interrogation of the meanest folks who still remain at large. it's off the table, as they tell us. some have used the excuse it's off the table because of this restriction and previous defense
3:00 pm
authorization acts. in other words, the administration could not put any new detainees at guantanamo for interrogation because they could not send them to federal court for trial. if this administration had made any effort at all, even just once, over the past four years to interrogate detainees at guantanamo rather than holding them on a ship, this excuse would have much more merit. but to make sure there are no excuses any more, our amendment makes clear that detainees who are sent to guantanamo specifically for the purposes of interrogation after the date of enactment may still be transferred to the united states for trial in article 3 courts or before military tribunals. that means there's absolutely no need to hold another detainee on board a ship just to interrogate him, and there is absolutely no

25 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on